Mitt Romney’s immigration stance is set to soften as a last ditch effort to woo Latino voters says Syed Ubaidur Rahman of NVONews.Com
Worried over overwhelming Hispanic support for Barack Husain Obama––ironically outside the US too––the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has decided to go slow on his policy towards illegal immigration. The Repulicans who, till the other day, were critical of Democrats have suddenly realized the political significance of this fast-growing population.
The softening of stand has more to do with politics than economics or anything else as the latest Pew Research Centre poll suggests that Obama leads over Romney among Hispanic voters by 40 points.
The problem with the Grand Old Party (GOP) is that the population of Spanish-speaking migrants from Latin America has been constantly increasing even in the States considered as the Republican stronghold.
While the Republicans were still pondering over the policy on illegal immigration the Democrats on Wednesday launched Spanish language advertisements in the states like Colorado. Obama has already started his campaign in some of these states.
This awakened Romney, who according to some media reports, told donors that the Republicans have to get Hispanic votes for the party. He reportedly told them that Latinos’ overwhelming support for Democrats and Obama ”spells doom for us.”
Though it is still not clear as to how Romney would tackle this new challenge yet it appears that he is planning to distance himself from Kris Kobach, a Yale-trained lawyer and Kansas State politician, who drafted most of the recent state and local laws that crack down on illegal immigration.
Only a few months ago, Governor Romney, through a written Press statement, openly boasted that he was happy to have Kobach “on the team,” thus making it clear his plan to fight illegal immigration.
But that seems to be ancient history. Now a spokesperson for Romney told a section of media on Tuesday that he is a supporter, not an adviser. However, Kobach was quoted in National Journal on the same day as saying that his role has not changed and he is still an informal adviser. He blamed Democrats for propagating that his job had been modified.
Whatever be the truth some Hispanic voters believe that he had been made a scapegoat.
The most interesting comment on the issue was made by the Miami-based Republican strategist, Ana Navarro. She was quoted in the Yahoo News as telling Romney: “I think he better bury [Kobach] deep underground between now and November…I’d tell him to get a one-way ticket to Finland for the next six months.”
Romney, it is leant, may embrace a Republican version of the Dream Act, which would legalize some immigrant young people, who were brought to the country as children. Senator Marco Rubio, the likely Vice Presidential candidate for Romney, has been working on a version of the Dream Act that would legalize but not give citizenship to some young people, who grew up in the United States.
Romney also said Republicans should criticize Obama for falsely promising Latinos that he would pass immigration reform in his first year in his second term.
True, Latino voters come from different countries and are not homogenous; they are not single-issue group and polls show that on aggregate, they care most about the economy and jobs, with immigration issues trailing behind. Yet Republican strategists emphasize that a hostile-sounding tone on immigration issues alienates many Hispanic voters, no matter the candidate’s economic platform.
But the non-White Obama is still more popular among Latinos outside the country too, even though they strongly suspect the hegemonic design of the United States. This was evident during his recent visit to Columbia, the fifth to the region, where he went to attend the Summit of Americas.